Was Super Saturday super?

18 Sep

Yesterday was Super Saturday. The dance studio has an event twice a year called Super Saturday. Basically, it’s a dance recital. Students perform with their teachers before a judge to get feedback on those dances. It’s sort of a works-in-progress check-in event.


Occasionally, our studio combines the event with the Edina studio, and we did again last night. That meant a ton of performers. Last time we combined, they limited everyone to 2 entries. This year, we could all do our normal 3 entries.

I did a viennese waltz spotlight (dance for 45 seconds to whatever music is played), a swing audition (dance your choreography to music your teacher picked out for about 90 seconds), and a foxtrot audition. I wasn’t too worried about the viennese waltz. We haven’t worked on it a ton (I just started learning it about a month ago), but it usually was comfortable enough that I figured it wouldn’t be a problem. The foxtrot was just our foxtrot open freestyle which I’ve done before and we’ve just been improving the technique in it.

Swing however…triple swing has been a mental block for me for quite a while. (Although west coast swing does not, and I love Lindy Hop!) To me, when I dance triple swing, it just feels awkward and stiff. My teacher Nate says it looks great, and I’m doing everything right. And I totally trust that he’s not just saying that. But for some reason, I got it stuck in my head that I cannot do this dance well. And now, no matter how well I dance it, it always feels awkward.

This is of course precisely the reason Nate wanted to do it at Super Saturday. And I agree, it was the right thing to do. I can get feedback on it, and at some point, I just need to power through this stupid mental block, and performing it should help.

Preparation for this event during my lessons this week has been going well. Except for swing. I get so frustrated with myself about it, and I go to the thinky place. I make a mistake, and it just seems to validate my thought that I can’t do this dance. Then I get tense, which is really the last thing you can do when dancing swing. Being tense throws me off-balance which leads to more mistakes blah blah blah. See the vicious cycle? Nate says I am just putting incredible pressure on myself in a way that I don’t do with other dances.

Friday night in my lesson, I almost lost it. I was messing up and being off-balance. I actually said to Nate at one point “I don’t think I can dance this tomorrow night”. He said if I really felt that way, we could certainly substitute another dance. But he thought that would be a more difficult thing for me to do, and I agree. I needed to just tackle this damn dance.

I had a lesson Saturday afternoon. We danced through all three dances but spent a fair amount of time on swing. Nate had picked a song (Ain’t Too Proud to Beg by the Temptations) that was a bit slower which he thought should help. We danced it through slowly, which allowed me to just take my time rather than rushing through stuff. By the end of the lesson, we were able to dance though it twice (the open freestyles recycle themselves – you figure out a loop that allows you to start the choreography over) and it felt OK to me. Nate said it was much better because I wasn’t tense and I wasn’t frustrating myself.

I was still very nervous about it for that night. I’ve learned before that I’m an unusual dance performer in that I always kick up the dance at a performance. I always dance better at a performance than I have in lessons. I love performing, which I never knew until my first dance performance. Anyway, I didn’t know if that would be true with the swing.

Luckily swing was my first entry of the night. I could do it and get it over with. Right before, Nate and I danced a few steps in the hallway just to warm up a bit. My bracelet kept catching on his shirt, so we both thought I should move it to the other wrist. Our names are called, we go out on the floor, and my mind goes blank. Now, I’m not one of those performers that has to think about each step as I dance it. But usually I have a few things to think about like “head up”, “be left”, and “energy out”. I had forgotten anything about swing I was supposed to be thinking of. I started out a little fast but found the beat shortly into the song. Then my bracelet, which was now on my right wrist, kept catching Nate’s shirt. Silly us – neither one of us thought about the fact that both arms are around him at different times in swing. I made a few mistakes, which Nate could cover for and I could recover from. But it wasn’t as good as it had been that afternoon.

Interestingly, I got a lot of compliments on it. So apparently it looked way better than I thought it did, and the mistakes weren’t obvious. This had made me think a lot today about it. I think maybe performing it, knowing that I could do it well in a lesson (which means I could do it well at a performance), and having people compliment it is slowly starting to shift my reality on how well I can do this dance.

In case you’re wondering, the viennese waltz and the foxtrot both went better than I’ve danced them before. Viennese waltz was very light and floaty, and the foxtrot was very graceful and smooth. Yay!

Overall, Super Saturday was super. It was a bit long (5 hours!), it wasn’t my best performance ever, but it was a good performance for me. Not great but good. The next performance is Showcase in November. I’m determined to make swing feel better by then, and I think after last night that I’ll be able to do it. Especially with a great teacher like Nate to help me.

Dancing faces you towards Heaven, whichever direction you turn.”

4 Responses to “Was Super Saturday super?”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Saying bye-bye to my 30s with wine and chocolate « Starting Over In My Life - September 19, 2011

    […] I’m feeling really good today. My dancing is going well, I will triumph over my triple swing mental block, I’m enjoying the creative bent I’m on and look forward to developing it […]

  2. Saying bye-bye to my 30s with wine and chocolate « The Reinvented Lass - November 18, 2011

    […] I’m feeling really good today. My dancing is going well, I will triumph over my triple swing mental block, I’m enjoying the creative bent I’m on and look forward to developing it […]

  3. Weekly roundup « The Reinvented Lass - January 30, 2012

    […] good news is that Super Saturday is this Saturday, and I’ve been too consumed with my stupid bronchitis to really think about […]

  4. Weekly roundup « The Reinvented Lass - February 6, 2012

    […] at Super Saturday. I was worried about the last one. And this one? GREAT! I was very happy with my performance. I did the bolero for the first time […]

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